Vacuuming your Carpet Daily as a New Year’s Resolution

The Party is over, a new year has begun. Some have made new year resolutions to clean up the mess we have made in our lives. For others it’s time to just clean up the physical mess we have made in our little part of the world. Simple things like vacuuming our carpets can make a huge change in our lives.Sink overflowing with dirty dishes
Just think about how a dirty carpet is like a kitchen sink, it can only hold so much filthy water before that filth spills over the top. When carpets, rugs and floor coverings capture too much filth, the excess is pumped back into the air you breathe and spread across to other areas of your dwelling.
Here are a few helpful ideas to consider when making healthy choices and getting life back in order after the party is over.

  • Asthma sufferers can benefit greatly by vacuuming carpets daily and using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Use a carpet groomer to loosen compacted soil prior to vacuuming. This will help prevent matting and crushing while allowing for more partials of soil to be removed.
  • Rotate area rugs twice a year to prevent early wear, sun fading and traffic patterns.
  • Rubber back floor mats are less likely to cause discoloring to both hard surface and carpet floors. Mats come in a variety styles so be sure to choose the proper back and face design.
  • Not all ice melting products are the same. Purchase an ice melt that is vegetation and structure friendly when possible. Advise your supplier about a specific application, there are effective alternatives to Rock Salt.

So while some may say “the party is over” and some might say the “party has just begun”, doing some small thing like vacuuming your carpet can make you breathe a little easier, reduce an early demise to your building and preserve your landscaping. Having carpets professionally cleaned on a regular basis by Hot Water Extraction, also known as steam cleaning is a smart starting point for making your maintenance tasks run smooth and easy.

The 3 Ways to Control Reoccurring Pet Odors in Carpet

Does your home experience a reoccurring pet smell that seems to come and go with the changes in the weather?   No matter what you try the foul and embarrassing scent returns.   Humidity may be a factor and with summer coming soon it will only get worse.   Odors that seem to come and go, or change in intensity are an indication that bacteria and other contaminants are present.  

Three ways to control a pet related odor are

  • Completely remove the source
  •  Seal in the source
  • Masking over the foul smell with a more pleasant scent

Masking should only be considered as a temporary fix because the source still remains and can pose health problems.   It can also cause further damage to your carpet or sub floor.   Never place a liquid or deodorizing scent somewhere it can’t easily be removed.

Sealing in the source of an odor should be considered where the contaminated surface is highly porous and previous attempts to remove the contamination are proving ineffective.  This may require peeling back the carpet to expose the carpet padding and sub-floor.   Before sealing make sure the area is thoroughly washed, dry and able to be painted.   Most hardware stores carry sealing products for a variety of odor and surface applications and that can be painted on with a brush or in a spray.  

Completely removing the source of an unpleasant odor can also require peeling back the carpet to expose the carpet padding and sub-floor.   Other times flushing the area with the proper odor counteractant and a water claw might be effective.   Sometimes a syringe can be used to inject an enzymatic digester behind the carpet’s face.  Your professional IICRC certified carpet cleaner can help you choose the best plan of attack.

It also important to note that odors can saturate porous surfaces such as curtains, ceiling tiles, fabrics and unfinished wood.   You may eliminate the source of an odor however residual smells absorbed by other surfaces may remain.   Residual odors may dissipate but most likely an ozone machine or fogger may need to be employed.

5 Important Questions to ask when Purchasing Carpet for your Home

Picture of bamboo carpet samplesWhen researching his or her subjects a good journalist considers who, what, when, where and why.   These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself when considering new carpet for your home.   Make a list of your habits, hobbies and other particulars that will help guide some of the decisions your sales rep may present. 

Why carpet and not hardwood or laminate flooring?

  1. Carpet is less expensive than hardwood flooring and may be easier on your budget.    The price of carpeting depends heavily on the quality.
  2. Carpet is quick and easy to install requiring far less time and labor.
  3. Carpeting acts as an insulator and is soft and warm underneath your feet.

Who will occupy the carpeted areas?

  1. Pet owners should consider the ease of cleaning up after an accident.   Laminates might be a better choice.
  2. Are there young children in the home?   Toddlers are prone to falling and carpet will cushion the impact.  
  3. Families that move frequently might consider return on investment when selling a home.    Buyers these days prefer hardwood.    Carpeting won’t command the same return for your investment.
  4. Individuals with allergies need consider that carpeting collects dust, pet hair and other debris.   When properly maintained carpet can keep these contaminants from easily becoming airborne.   Regular and professional carpet cleaning is recommended.

 What areas will I be carpeting and what are my expectations?

  1.  A high traffic living room or hallway might require more durable and tougher face fibers, providing greater resistance to stains.   In these areas a stain resistant nylon may be a good choice.
  2. In bathrooms, sun porches and laundry rooms susceptible to moisture, cleaning chemicals and or direct sunlight, olefin carpet would be a better choice.   It has superior resistance to bleaches, damage from moisture and color fading.   Olefin doesn’t last as long as nylon carpeting and you will usually see this type of carpeting in pool houses, basements, or other spaces that are not heavily used and that do not receive heavy foot traffic.
  3.  Looking for a carpet that ranks in strength between nylon and olefin carpet and has a very low price tag.    Consider polyester, it is non-allergenic, sheds moisture and resists moths and mildew at a lower cost than wool or nylon. While it’s susceptible to pilling, shedding and oil-based stains, it otherwise cleans fairly easily.
  4. The Carpet Buyers Handbook is an excellent reference for choosing the correct face fiber based on particular applications. 

 When is a good time to purchase my new carpet?

  1. Look for sales or slow periods to get a good deal.   However installation is another consideration.    Most “off-gassing” of new carpet occurs within the first 24 hours or so.   Schedule carpet installation when the weather is a bit warmer so you can open the windows for some air movement.   Properly ventilate with good air exchange for approximately 48 to 72 hours.   The new carpet smell should dissipate within this time.

Where should I purchase my carpet?

  1. Preparing yourself by understanding who, what, when and why will help you choose where you buy.   At least you will be able to tell if the salesman is knowledgeable or just trying to make a sale.
  2. Get referrals from friends and relatives.   Check with the Better Business Bureau.
  3. In Hazleton PA and surrounding areas, the professional staff of Bonomo’s Carpet and Floor Covering is a trusted name for sales and service.

Pet Accidents on Carpet include more than just Cleaning Urine, Feces and Vomit

Carpets and rugs are prone to pet accidentsA recent pet emergency at my home this past holiday week reminded me that pet accidents can involve more than just odors and the usual urine and fecal carpet stain related problems.   Our 10 year old Black Lab, Princess Cleopatra, had a terrible medical issue and the mess in my home required a thorough deep carpet cleaning and sanitizing.

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, I arose from my bed at 6am and started toward the coffee only to step in several wet areas on the carpet.   My first thought was the dog had gotten sick and vomited as she was not feeling well the night before.  But the more I stepped, the more I began to change my mind and started thinking maybe she had urinary problems.   I spotted the dog at the top of the stairs and seeing that her entire rear end, rear legs and tail were completely soaking wet I knew we had bigger problems.

Upon further investigation my wife and I determined that Cleo had a serious infection which was causing a continuous and foul smelling discharge of blood and nasty fluids.   After rushing my faithful hunting companion and best friend to the Hazleton Veterinary Hospital, the fantastic staff there examined and admitted her for emergency surgery.   She needed to have her uterus removed.   Everything went well but now we were faced with the daunting task of cleaning up the extremely soiled carpet.

Identifying the properties and composition of the contaminants we were attempting to clean was our first consideration.   In this case we were dealing with blood which would normally require a protein type carpet spot cleaner.   Not only was there blood to consider but the byproducts of an infection, bacteria and possibly urine too.  That would require an “EPA Registered” germicidal cleaner.

My carpet extractor was not readily available so I had to initially make do with household items.   I was lucky enough to be able to use some clean white towels to quickly absorb the mess from the carpet before it had time to dry.   Also the mess did not penetrate the carpet backing and I did not need to treat the sub-floor or carpet padding.

Until I was able to use my carpet cleaning equipment, I used a mixture of about 10-12 ounces of water and one teaspoon of liquid laundry soap in a spray bottle.   Most liquid laundry detergents contain the necessary ingredients for doing an excellent job of cleaning carpet spots which are protein based.   I continued to spray and blot the area until there was no more visible transfer of the soil into the towel.   When spot cleaning most protein carpet spots and stains definitely avoid the use of hot water.   Heat can set a protein stain making it permanent and reduce the chances of a successful removal.  When attempting to remove a protein stain use cool water.

Furthermore I needed to treat the carpet for germs and bacteria due to the nature and severity of the incident.    Your local professional carpet cleaning company should carry a disinfectant.   Once I had access to my cleaning equipment, my choice was a product called “Microban Disinfectant Spray Plus”.   Microban Disinfectant Spray Plus is a water-based bactericide, fungicide, deodorant, and antimicrobial all in one unique formulation. One application kills allergy- and disease-causing germs, fungi, mold, and mildew. It kills odor-causing bacteria, including gram negative bacteria — the bacteria encountered in sewage backups and toilet overflow situations.

After the day was over we did use our hot water extraction carpet cleaning system to finish off the job.   If you encounter a pet emergency in the Hazleton PA or surrounding areas I “highly recommend” the Hazleton Veterinary Hospital located at 1094 N.Church Street in Hazle Township.   If your troubles require the services of a “professional carpet cleaner”, Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is located just down the road at 1620 N.Church Street, Suite #3.  We offer a full line of products and services to assist in sanitizing and removing pet stains and odors.   Call us at (570)459-0429 or request a free online estimate.

 

Cheap and Easy Holiday Carpet Spot Cleaning “Do’s and Don’ts”

Technician spot cleaning carpet spotWhether you are preparing for holiday guests or cleaning up after them, you can eliminate permanent carpet damage and or a costly bill from your local carpet cleaner by being prepared and tending to those little accidents promptly.  With the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays quickly approaching, it seems that with each passing year, there is more and more to prepare.   More places at the table to set, more deadlines to meet and more things to forget or just subconsciously put off until the last minute.   Now is a perfect time to make sure you have your carpet spot and spill cleaning response items close at hand.

Believe it or not you are probably almost very close to being prepared right now, you just need to get organized and informed on carpet cleaning basics.   Many of the following household items can be used to quickly clean up common domestic mishaps. Clear white vinegar can be used for carpet spot cleaning

  • White absorbent towels
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Spray bottle

Some of the spills and spots on your carpet during the holiday season are likely to be protein in nature.    Proteins can be found in milk, eggs, baby formula, coffee and other similar food items.    Other unsightly marks on your rugs or carpet might be oily.   Some bathroom and cosmetic products contain oils, someone’s shoes might track in tar or cooking oil might splash off the stove.   Holiday guests and visitors may bring a pet that has an accident causing pet urine odors.   Having the items mentioned above in one easy to reach location will save the day.

Each type of spot and stain on a rug is unique and needs to be treated different than others.   However a few basic principals apply.

  •  Blot, don’t rub.   Rubbing permanently distorts the carpet pile.
  • Use a dull edge such as a spoon for scraping dry material.
  • Spray or blot, don’t pour spot cleaning solutions.   Pouring may damage the carpet backing.
  • Always pretest cleaning solutions.   Test for adverse reactions first in an inconspicuous location.
  • Check your warranty information.   Carpet warranties usually give spot cleaning guidelines.

For a short demonstration on “carpet spot cleaning basics” watch our 2 minute video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZR8fhipK8.

Protein soils can be treated using 2 tablespoons of clear white vinegar, a dash of dish soap and 6 ounces of water.    

Oil based spots can be cleaned using denatured alcohol.   However some spots may contain both oil and water based compounds and may require the use of dish detergent too.   Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ianN1VKReUc.

Pet urine stains and odors can be counteracted with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water.   Check out other specific and informative “DIY carpet cleaning tips” by Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning of Hazleton PA. 

Again, getting a few simple household items ready and in one location now can save time, aggravation and money on a rug cleaning service call in the future.   I highly suggest viewing some of the aforementioned videos for more specific instructions concerning different types of spills and spots on your rug.

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Carpet cleaning pre spray being mixed for commercial applicationWhen your pet has an accident on the carpet or someone has a spill it can be stressful enough, but choosing a “professional carpet cleaner” that best fits your needs can be more taxing.   There are a few factors that should be considered when making your final decision.   Having cleaned carpets in the Mountaintop PA, Berwick PA and Hazleton PA areas for 24 years, I highly recommend the following 5 steps for choosing a Professional Carpet Cleaning Company should be taken into consideration.     

  1. Narrowing Down the Field – first consult your warranty documents whether it’s upholstery or carpets.   The information provided by the manufacturer not only includes specific instructions for approved cleaning methods but most warranties now specify the certifications your cleaning company should possess.   Not following these guidelines may void your warranty.
  2. Look for an “IICRC” or “The Clean Trust” certified firm – when doing your research.   Companies like Services Etcetera Professional Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning and bearing these certifications are required to update their training regularly, adhere to a code of ethics and are usually the carpet mill’s preferred choice to handle warranty claims.
  3. Ask your Prospects – where they are located and if they are a franchise or chain operation.   Shopping locally, within 20-30 miles, will provide you more accurate references and better your chances at finding someone who wants a relationship rather than just another sale.   Remember, the handsome and knowledgeable serviceman in the TV commercial is not the person showing up at your door.
  4. Ask about a Guarantee – a reputable business either offers one with conditions or they won’t offer one at all.   Beware of the guy who promises the world because there is no magic wand and a true professional will usually under promise and try exceed your expectations.
  5. Word of Mouth Referrals – are an excellent source of information, ask a relative, friend or colleague.   Ask the company you call to provide the references; maybe they have a customer who had a situation similar to yours.   Having worked in the cleaning industry for over 23 years I maintain a file of report cards, pictures and other testimonials from my customers.

   After making your choice it’s a good idea to address your expectation up front to avoid any misunderstandings.   But the five questions you should be asking before you hire a carpet and upholstery cleaner are what does my warranty say, what certifications do they have, are they local, is there a guarantee and do they have references?

Fleas – How to Safely and Effectively Remove them from your Home and Carpet

Picture of a fleaBefore calling an exterminator and paying extreme bills, there are some simple yet effective ways to remove fleas from your pets, home and carpet.   It is important to note that while chemical use and “Green Cleaning” may be a concern, “Natural” remedies can be HAZARDOUS to your pets or small children too.   Whatever methods you choose be conscious of any changes in your family’s behavior and always read labeling information thoroughly.

With the winter months approaching, many Northeast Pennsylvania residents like me will be trying to squeeze in the last few days of nice weather.   Walking the dog, jumping in the leaves, cleaning up yard debris around the home and other outdoor activities may potentially expose you to fleas and other insects.   It is important to have a 3 step action plan:

    1. Treatment and care of pets
    2. Daily vacuuming and housekeeping
    3. A long term plan for treating carpets, rugs and fabrics
  • Ensuring that your pet is not acting as a carrier is the first step in achieving a flea free environment.   Eliminate the source by treating pets for existing fleas and from further contamination.   Purchase a flea comb from your local pet store and groom your pets regularly, especially before they come inside.   Make sure your pet has a flea dip, flea collar, topical treatment or other long term deterrent.   Ask your veterinarian about adding brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food, it causes an unpleasant odor causing fleas to migrate.   Be careful of home remedies made from Eucalyptus, tea tree oils and lemon as they can have serious health effects on your cat or dog.   Nausea, vomiting, lethargy, general weakness and digestive problems may all be indicative of a bad reaction.
  • Removing and killing live fleas, larva and eggs in carpets and fabrics is a daily essential.   Wash any blankets, bedding or linens that may have contacted your pet in hot water and detergent.   Thoroughly vacuum all carpeting, area rugs and upholstered furniture in your home.   Use a strong, bag type vacuum without a worn beater bar.   After vacuuming promptly remove and seal the vacuum bag inside a plastic bag and then discard outside.   Take care to vacuum hard to reach areas as fleas prefer cooler areas not in direct sunlight.   Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company that offers hot water extraction also known as steam cleaning.   An IICRC certified carpet cleaner can effectively reach deep down into the base of the carpet yarns removing much more than a typical vacuum.    Remaining vigilant about daily vacuuming of carpet and fabrics is important.  
  • You will not be able to get every last flea the first time around, so besides daily vacuuming you need to have a long term plan.   Even if you manage to kill or remove every remaining flea you still need to combat the eggs and larva waiting to mature.   Products known as insect growth regulators (IGR) disrupt the reproductive cycle of insects and are usually harmless to mammals.    Products containing Nylar such as Bio Spot from “PETCO” or other products found by visiting http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com are effective long term treatments.   Some alternative remedies involve sprinkling diatomaceous earth (DE) or salt directly onto your carpets.   Keep in mind you should wear a respirator when using (DE).   A mixture of borax and water in your home carpet cleaning machine will drown fleas while the borax attaches to the carpet and prevents others from maturing.

In closing it is important to remember that removing fleas from you home will take time and some effort.   Regardless of using a home concoction or a store bought product, always keep an eye out for adverse reactions and follow all packaging and labeling information.   Pest control products only go so far.   Good housekeeping practices and keeping your pet free from fleas should also be a part of any flea control program.